Chris Benes – Vice President

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Chris moved to Lake Forest in 2011 with his wife Krista with whom he has two young sons, Gus (6) and Gabriel (3).  He was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN with a B.S. in Computer Science.  He served on the College of Science Alumni Board for a number of years, one term as President.  He has volunteered with Catholic Charities and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Illinois.

Chris spent 17 years in real-time embedded systems engineering at telecommunication and professional audio companies including Tellabs, Motorola, and Shure.  He started and ran an online virtual training business for 6 years.  He is currently Vice President of Software Engineering at Donnelley Financial Solutions where he leads the global software engineering of two products that generate over $100M in annual revenue for capital markets IPO and M&A transactions and SEC filings.

Chris loved playing and loves watching hockey.  He also played soccer for 35 years.  He’s an avid history buff (American Civil War, Roman Empire and Republic) and fisherman.

Kristin Vallaly – Secretary

Kristin Vallaly and her husband, Michael, along with their three children, have lived in Lake Forest since 2014. Her husband is a Lake Forest native and attended Lake Forest schools as well. Kristin is originally from Central Indiana and received her B.A. in Health Education from Purdue University. Kristin has been very active with her Girl Scout Troop and Cub Scout Troop 48. She is also very active with the APT of Cherokee School. Kristin looks forward to joining the Caucus to become further involved in the community of Lake Forest.

Cynthia McCullough – Fundraising

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Cynthia McCullough is a Lake Forest resident with her own interior design firm, servicing clients both on the North Shore and in Chicago. Together with her husband Michael, their family relocated from the city in 2014 and are so happy to call this wonderful, special community home. Through her two young sons, she has had the opportunity to volunteer at Cherokee Elementary, Deerpath Middle School and is looking forward to opportunities to help at Lake Forest High School.

Cynthia graduated from Regis University with a BAS in Business Administration and Art History, in addition to studying in the MA program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was employed by The Art Institute of Chicago and The Smithsonian Institution before opening a retail home furnishings store in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Cynthia is a past participant in the Spirit of 67’s Home Tour, in addition to the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago’s 2020 Lake Forest Showhouse. Cynthia firmly believes an informed, engaged community full of open discussion, keen listeners and dedicated participation, is the backbone of Lake Forest’s past and future success.

Lauren Hara

Lauren Hara lives in Lake Forest with her husband Randy and twin daughters. She acts as Vice President of Weisgal and Hara, Ltd. She is currently enrolled at the Northwestern School of Professional Studies to obtain her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate. Lauren is a room mother at Cherokee Elementary and she previously spent four years volunteering at the Forest Glen Community Club. Lauren graduated with a BA in English Literature from DePaul University. Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, often doing crafts and science projects with her daughters. When she can find a free moment, Lauren tries to indulge her love of non-fiction novels and podcasts.

Yvonne Derrig Bruce – Ward 1 Chair

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Yvonne Derrig Bruce is a graduate of NUIG, Ireland and worked in healthcare for many years before dedicating time to raise four children. She has successfully chaired the last four Women of Concern fundraisers for Concern Worldwide in Chicago. She sits on the Northwestern Hospital Womens Board, The Allendale Childrens Home Board and the advisory council at Tabor Academy in MA. She is currently a member of the Jr. Garden Club. Tennis and Paddle helps keep her sane over the long winter months.

Michael O’Neill – Ward 3 Chair

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Michael and his spouse, Andra, and have lived in Lake Forest for 25 years.  He has been blessed to have raised five children in the community.  He has over 40 years experience in the Food Industry in sales and supply chain.   He strongly believes in God/Faith, Family/friends, and Country/community.  Michael enjoys working on the Caucus as a representative of Ward 3 and helping to continue the legacy of Lake Forest as a desirable place to live.

Richard Daniels

Richard was born and raised in Lake Forest and is a 25-year resident. He has participated in local events throughout his upbringing and continues to give back to the Lake Forest community. As someone who has recently been through the Lake Forest public school system as a student, Richard brings a relatively unique perspective to the caucus.

A recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Richard works for the law firm Gordon & Rees in downtown Chicago. He also volunteers as a youth chess coach for ChessEd, teaching at several elementary schools in Lake Forest and throughout the Chicagoland area.

Don Adams

From growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, to living in Wisconsin, Texas, and now Lake Forest, Illinois since 2014, Don Adams has seen “what works” in building a thriving and successful community. Don has a background in finance, sales, and management. Most recently, he held a senior leadership position at NCC Media for 14 years, and is now the head of Midwest regional sales for Warner Media, digital entertainment and integrated content partnership division. He knows how to identify and develop talent, and has served on boards for church, local, and professional organizations. He is excited to use his experience to identify the best candidates for Lake Forest mayor, aldermen, and the school board. Don has been married for 31 years to his wife Laura and has four daughters, including two in Lake Forest public schools. Lake Forest is now home, and he wants to see it thrive and flourish as a city of leadership and success on the North Shore.

Joe Brickman

Joe Brickman grew up in Lake Forest and returned with his wife Katie and their two children in 2007.  Joe has a BA in Economics from the University of Lynchburg.

Joe has held many senior leadership positions throughout his corporate career, the latest being the position of Chief Commercial Officer at NRS Inc., a division of LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group.  Joe looks forward to serving as a Caucus committee member of the 3rd Ward.

Susan Duffey

Susan Duffey is a realtor with @Properties in Lake Forest. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Susan and her husband moved to Lake Forest in 2012 to raise their family. They have two children who attend Deerpath Middle School and Everett Elementary School. She is an active volunteer for District 67 and a former sponsor of the Newcomers’ Club of Lake Bluff / Lake Forest. Susan is rooted in the community and has completed both the Citizen’s Police and Fire Academies. She is excited by the opportunity to volunteer her time as a Third Ward Caucus Committee member.